Tokyo beckons for Tori after classy rifle win

South Australia’s Tori Rossiter edged closer to Tokyo Olympic Games selection after displaying a high level of composure to win the third Australian team 10m Air Rifle nomination event at the Wingfield Rifle Range in Adelaide today.

In a high-class final, Rossiter languished in fifth position in the eight-person field after the first 12 of 24 shots and faced the prospect of early elimination.

But Rossiter regained her focus and peeled off three near perfect successive scores of 10.8 to shoot back into gold medal contention and trailed leader, Victoria’s Elise Collier, by a mere 0.3 point after 18 shots.

The pair later traded scores of a perfect 10.9 and were eventually deadlocked on 228.1 points with the final two shots remaining.

Rossiter then fired another 10.8 and a final 10.2, while Collier could only manage scores of 10.0 and 9.9. South Australia’s Emma Woodroofe captured the bronze medal.

Rossiter, a 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games representative, said she mentally blocked out the scoreboard in the final.

“I’m just trying to shoot the best shot that I can. I can’t influence what anyone is doing,” said Rossiter.

Rossiter’s qualifying score of 628.1 was the highest of her three qualifying scores to date and holds an important 9.1 lead over Collier in the race for Tokyo selection.

In the men’s 10m Air Pistol final, Queensland’s Dane Sampson seems destined for his third Olympics after a third consecutive nomination victory.

Once again South Australia’s young gun, Alex Hoberg, topped qualifying and the pivotal moment came in the 19th of 24 shots when Hoberg, who was leading by 1.1 points, could only manage a score of 9.9 while Sampson peeled off a near perfect 10.8 to slash the lead to just 0.2.

Sampson’s experience then came to the fore and he closed out the victory to tally 250.2 points ahead of Hoberg 249.7 and Jack Rossiter (227).

Despite the win and opening up a handy 2.7 point lead over Hoberg in the overall Olympic rifle nomination scoreboard, Sampson is still searching for an optimum performance.

“It’s getting better and better every week. I’m in the best position that I can be in and I’m happy that I’m in front,” said Sampson.

“It’s a tight competition, which is great, and its pushing all of us and that works well for us,” he added.

There will be two men’s and women’s 3 Positions nomination events on Monday and Tuesday.

Shooting Australia